ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Electricity is gradually being restored in Pakistan following a huge power cut across the country, which led to every city reporting outages.
Homes nationwide were suddenly plunged into darkness from about midnight. Power is now back in most cities but officials warn that it could still be a few hours before electricity is fully restored.
A breakdown in Pakistan’s national power grid plunged the country into darkness on Saturday night, officials said.
“A countrywide blackout has been caused by a sudden plunge in the frequency in the power transmission system,” Pakistan’s Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan said on Twitter. He asked people across the country to remain calm.
This is Pakistan’s most widespread power shutdown in the country since 2015.
In a statement, the Ministry of Energy said that, according to an initial report, there had been a fault at the Guddu Thermal Power Plant in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, which had caused power plants across the country to shut down.
The outage is believed to have been caused by a fault at a power plant in the south of the country.
In Karachi, witnesses reported seeing long queues at gas stations as people rushed to buy petrol for their home generators, which had been running overnight.
“A countrywide blackout has been caused by a sudden plunge in the frequency in the power transmission system,” Pakistan’s power minister, Omar Ayub Khan, wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Sunday.
Khan later said that power had been restored in most major cities but that it would take a few more hours for the grid to go completely back to normal.
He added that the outage occurred after a fault developed at the Guddu power plant in Sindh province shortly before midnight on Saturday (19:00 GMT).
Investigators were at the site to ascertain the cause of the fault, Khan said.
Blackouts sometimes occur in Pakistan because of chronic power shortages, with many areas having no electricity for several hours a day. The issue has previously led to street protests.
In 2013, Pakistan’s electricity network broke down completely after a power plant in south-western Balochistan province developed a technical fault.
Netblocks, which monitors internet outages said internet connectivity in the country “collapsed” as a result of the outage.
Connectivity was at “62% of ordinary levels,” it said in a tweet.
In 2015, an apparent rebel attack on a key power line plunged around 80% of Pakistan into darkness.
That blackout caused electricity to be cut in major cities nationwide, including Islamabad and even affected one of the country’s international airports.